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New Report: Cannabis Industry Boosting Oregon’s Economy by $1.2B

A recent report from an Oregon economist who studies the cannabis industry has found that the state’s marijuana market has had more than $1 billion economic impact.

Oregon’s legal marijuana market has impacted the state’s economy by more than $1 billion, according to a new report from economist and cannabis industry expert Beau Whitney of Whitney Economics.

In summary, Whitney’s report found that:

  • There are 917 Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) licensed cannabis businesses and an additional 1,225 applications for a cannabis businesses (2,142 in total)
  • The cannabis industry in Oregon has so far generated approximately 12,500 jobs
  • The cannabis jobs are paid at an average wage of $12.13 per hour, bringing the total annual wages associated with the jobs to $315 million

Overall, the report concluded that the job and wages impact translated to a $1.2 billion in economic activity.

According to tax revenue data, Oregon generated $60.2 million in tax revenue from an estimated $241 million in sales in 2016, far surpassing original estimates. Oregon, which legalized adult use cannabis in 2014 and began retail sales October 2015, is one of eight states to have passed recreational marijuana legislation.

“On a national basis, the $50 billion cannabis market is essentially the equivalent to the U.S. wine market ($55 billion),” Whitney said in a statement. “And there are more than 1,000 businesses in Oregon that touch cannabis.”

Whitney’s job figures for Oregon only include the jobs that directly touch cannabis, and do not include auxiliary positions, including those within security, regulatory, accounting, consulting and real estate industries.

“We now has a nascent, somewhat successful industry,” Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said in an interview with The Associated Press. “These are good paying jobs. It’s a pretty diverse business community.”

Recreational and Medical Marijuana

The nation’s cannabis market is currently growing faster than the dot-com boom of 2000, and a recent report by ArcView Market Research projected that by 2020 the industry will generate approximately 283,422 jobs in the U.S. Whitney’s estimated job numbers are far higher already.

“At present, I feel there are roughly 300,000 – 400,000 cannabis-touching jobs in the USA,” Whitney said. “That number will grow to more than a million as more states come online as legal markets. Cannabis is a job-creation machine.”

Whitney’s report suggests that its own job and wages figures, based on OLCC permit applications, are “very conservatively estimated” and noted that a more comprehensive report will be published later in the year.

“[The Trump] administration very clearly wants to grow the economy and create jobs, and the other piece that they want is to have the states be the laboratories of democracy,” Brown added. “There is no better type of laboratory than the initiative process, and voters in Oregon and Washington and California and Alaska and Nevada, and there’s a few other states, have voted to legalize marijuana. On the West coast alone, that’s 49 million people.”

You can access Whitney’s entire report, “Cannabis Employment Estimates: House Committee on Economic Development and Trade,” at Marijuana Business Daily. The report was compiled at the request of the Oregon State House of Representatives Committee on Economic Development and Trade.

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